Ángela Delcast: The logistics of farming are tremendous. Just thinking about the logistics involved in you and I meeting to visit Mahindra farm, the e-mails, the phone calls… and you, you have to be thinking about so many things, so many people, so many materials, I find that a little overwhelming to be honest.
Carlos Bejarano: That’s the other problem. We’re a culture not used to planning. For example, I don’t have a production plan developed yet. Everything is done on the go. Processes become very slow and inefficient. Things come in too late and then everything has to be rushed.
AD: We are currently trying to buy chicken compost.
CB: Yes, chicken compost.
10:10 a.m. Carlos decides to call the seller which eventually never opened the door. He tells him he came earlier this week to buy 4 bags and needs two more. The seller tells him he’ll get there in 40 minutes, but Carlos says he’ll come back another day because he can’t afford to wait. We leave without the compost towards our next stop.
On organic agriculture as a lifestyle
CB: Ecological agriculture is not industrial. Right now in Colombia it’s seen as a commercial alternative that has a higher profitability. This means that when people think about ecological products, they think, oh it costs more. But no, it’s not more costly, it’s about nurturing yourself. But right now we don’t have that culture. There’s no model for organic growers to follow in Colombia.
I dream that in 10 years people go to Mahindra instead of us delivering products to their homes. For people to go there and to think organically, to manage their times organically, to speak organically.
AD: Let’s stop there. What is organic agriculture to you? That word, ‘organic’, is so overused. What is organic agriculture to Carlos Bejarano from Finca Mahindra?
CB: Well, let’s separate those terms. Agriculture is the production of foods. Yes? Now, let’s look at organic. Society right now is accustomed to getting everything they want everything fast. As fast as possible. How can we achieve things in the least possible time with the least amount of resources? It goes beyond food, beyond eating an organically produced lettuce, beyond eating an organically grown carrot, it’s not about feeding yourself, and it’s about nurturing society. It’s about thinking about why lettuce is green and why carrots are orange. Organic agriculture is about putting more conscience into what’s called food. Food is water, food is earth, food is sunshine and food is energy. My farm is called Mahindra because it’s about being present and conscientious.
10:40 a.m. We’ve arrived at a village close by to Bogotá. It’s called Chía and we’re at a mall that has an area dedicated to farming materials. We’re going to buy Yeso Agrícola, which Carlos explains to me, is an input we’re going to spread on the soil to help it retain its nitrogen content.